Every time I finish a manuscript I get this very distinct feeling in my chest. It’s like I’ve run a marathon in some respects. I’m exhausted, yet there’s something else there too—a kind of elation that’s as much physical as it is mental.
I’d think it was a fluke if it didn’t happen every single time. But it does. Without fail. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
It’s almost as if my body is saying, “You’ve done good, kid.” And, frankly, that acknowledgement from within me is more powerful than getting a pat on the back from anyone else.
I got that feeling just last week when I sent off the third Jenkins & Burns mystery to my editor. I’d been working around the clock, seeing the home stretch in the distance and not wanting to take my eye off the finish line. When I finally typed “The End” at the bottom of the last page, I could feel that sensation taking root in my chest. I recognized it immediately and welcomed it with open arms.
For me, the “feeling” comes with varying intensity, the strength having more to do with the project’s aura than the size. Just this past fall, I’d written a proposal for my agent that consisted of three chapters and a synopsis. Compared to an entire manuscript, it was nothing. But, for some reason, the feeling that accompanied the completion of that project was so powerful it hung with me for nearly a week. It was so incredibly strong that it made me stop, think, and actually slow down to enjoy the rush.
If I had to guess why that proposal brought it on so strongly, I’d have to say it was, in fact, a race in a lot of ways. By finishing those three chapters, I’d proven to myself that I am truly a writer.
You see, thanks to an unexpected curveball this summer, my creativity and my desire to write were sorely tested. And it sucked. Writing had always been a huge part of who I am, yet suddenly it was gone. I had no ideas. No springboard. No desire.
I was lost.
That is until a dear friend (and fellow writer) promised me it would be back. He said it with such certainty that I hung on to his words even though I doubted their accuracy. And you know what? He was right.
It did, indeed, come back. It started with a simple flash. Just one character and nothing else. There was no plot, no setting, no crime. But the seed was there. And before I knew it, the writer side of my brain that’s been churning away since I was ten years old took over.
Sure, the curveball was still there. But I’m a writer. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. So I wrote.
First up? A proposal for that character who had stepped into my thoughts and reminded me of who I am. Only now she came bearing gifts in the form of secondary characters and a plot. I threw myself into the writing. Into the creating.
And when I finished those three chapters and emailed it off to my agent, I could feel it starting…that amazing physical feeling that comes with finishing something new.
So how about the rest of you? Do you experience that “feeling” when you complete a project? Do you find it as addicting as I do?